Crumpets with Smoked Gammon and Cauliflower Cheese

Traditional British fayre at it's finest!

Both the gammon and the cauliflower cheese take a while, but they really are worth it.


Preparation: 20 minutes Serves: 18 crumpets
Cooking: 2 hours Cold-buttered crumpets
Ingredients Quantity (metric) Quantity (imperial)
Smoked gammon joint 1.4 kg 3.1 lb
Small white onion (peeled and quartered) 1 1
Bay leaves 3 3
Black peppercorns 1 tsp 1 tsp
Juniper berries 1 tsp 1 tsp
Whole cloves 3 3
Honey 2 tsp 2 tsp
Dijon mustard 2 tsp 2 tsp
Cauliflower cheese
Cauliflower (leaves removed, cored and cut into evenly-sized florets) 1 1
Small white onion (peeled and roughly chopped) 1 1
Milk 600 ml 20 floz
Salted butter 60 g 2.1 oz
Plain flour 50 g 1.75 oz
Lancashire cheese (grated) 150 g 5.3 oz
Fresh breadcrumbs 25 g 0.9 oz
Bay leaves 2 2
Whole cloves 3 3
Freshly-grated nutmeg 1 tsp 1 tsp
Salt and pepper Plenty Plenty


      The gammon    

      • The gammon needs 20 minutes per lb (450 g) plus an extra 20 minutes (so 1.4 kg requires a little over 80 minutes).
      • The meat wants to be boiled for half this time and roasted for the remainder.
      • Put the meat in a large pan, cover with cold water and add the onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and cloves. Obviously, feel free to pimp away with the flavours to suit your taste. Smoked gammon is salty stuff so you shouldn't need to add any more.
      • Bring to the boil, then simmer for (in this case) 40 minutes, periodically skimming off any scum.
      • Drain and allow to cool, then remove the skin, leaving just a thin layer of fat.
      • Place the gammon in a foil-lined roasting tin, cover with more foil and cook at 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4.
      • Half-way through the roasting time, remove the foil cover, mix the honey and mustard together and brush onto the meat.
      • Cook uncovered until your time is up.
      • We like our gammon trimmed of all fat, so if you too are fusspots, allow some time for this during the carving process.

      The cauliflower cheese       

      • Put the milk in a saucepan, add the onion, bay leaves, cloves and some salt and pepper. Simmer for around 15 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and allow the flavours to infuse for 15 minutes more.
      • In a separate pan, melt 50 g (1.75 oz) of butter and mix in the flour to make a roux. Heat very gently for a couple of minutes to let the flour cook, then strain in the infused milk. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking to avoid lumps, then cook over a very low heat, stirring  occasionally, for 15 minutes.
      • Add the nutmeg and 100 g (3.5 oz) of the cheese and stir for about 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is thick and creamy.
      • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the cauliflower florets and cook for about 3 minutes before draining.
      • Coat an oven-proof dish with some of the remaining butter, add the florets, cover with the sauce, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese and dot with the remaining butter.
      • Cook in a pre-heated oven at 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6 for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling around the edges.

      The crumpets

      • Layer on the slices of gammon, spoon on the cauliflower cheese, taking care to share out the lovely crusty bits evenly, and indulge yourselves.



As ever, don't forget to use gammon from happy pigs or karma might come to bite you on the arse.